What to do with lots of Altoids tins?

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What to do with lots of Altoids tins?

From the MAKE Forums:

Forum user LeversFulcrumsLoads has amassed a large quantity of leftover Altoids tins, and is trying to think of something to do with them. Now, we’ve covered many projects that make use of a single tin, but I can’t think of any that called for a whole pile of them. Got some ideas? Chime in on the forum discussion!

It was like stumbling onto something out of National Treasure.

Is there an elegant way of punching holes in the sides without having sharp jaggies surrounding a USB socket?

With literally hundreds of tins, I was thinking on the best use of these (pocket survival kits, minty boosts, recycle, really big LED Throwie’s, etc…) but have been overwhelmed by the staggering amount of sugars and fillers ingested in order to stack this cache up. Insights are welcomed. Wow, talk about supporting the U.S. market.


14 thoughts on “What to do with lots of Altoids tins?

  1. Mike Yancey says:

    I’ve built a few ‘small’ test instruments into them, including a small, PIC-based frequency counter and a 2-tone audio generator for testing small transmitters, as well as the usual CMOY headphone amp, minty-charger, and a RockMite-40 CW Transceiver for 7.030 Mhz.

    I have parts for a couple more ‘tiny test gear’ projects (waiting for the time to do them!) like an audio filter and possibly a more general purpose audio sig-generator.

    Mike Y
    Dallas, Texas

  2. craig says:

    It is a good idea to get yourself a bunch of those rubber grommets that you fit into a drilled hole to pass wires through, so the sharp metal doesn’t cut through the wire insulation. It looks like a rubber washer with a groove around the outside. Neat, clean and looks proffesional.

  3. PaulBo says:

    How about using some neodymium magnets placed in the middle of all 6 surfaces to create a makeshift construction block set?

  4. Daniel T says:

    contact some of the component sellers, and solicit donations for some “starter kits” that can be handed out to schools/local community.

  5. mpechner says:

    I use them to organize small parts. I just use masking tape and a magic marker to label. If I need to make sure the tin does not open I use a strip of velcro as a strap around the tin.

    I also use the tins for any kit I build that will fit.

    I like to use step drill bits on the tins. They seem to work better for holes larger than 1/16 or 1/8.

    I also use tin nibblers once I drill a pilot hole for serial or usb connectors.

    I have a de-burring tool for the sharp edges. I try to use rubber grommets in the holes where I can.

  6. Helvetica says:

    Can you imagine a beowulf cluster of these things?

    No, but seriously…never too early to start planning for Halloween! I’d fashion a suit of Altoids scale armor, something like this (but swapping out the leather scales for Altoids lids):


  7. Oceaneer99 says:

    My grandfather used to make cabinets filled with small tins, using them like drawers. You could solder a bolt or bent washer onto the end as a drawer pull.

    I generally just stick a vintage-looking sticker on the top and use them to store small parts, though I put a copper dish scrubber in one to use to clean my soldering iron.

    Is anyone else annoyed that they now emboss the tops? I can’t put stickers on the new boxes.

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